Full disclosure: I’ve never been camping.
In my life.
I love hiking and walking around the woods, but I’ve just never camped…and I don’t think these stories are gonna make me go any time soon.
Let’s hear from AskReddit users about their scariest camping stories.
1. Nothing to be afraid of…
“Camping with my kids in the woods for the first time. They were very nervous, but I assured them that nothing was out there to be afraid of…
Immediately after one of my assurances, we heard something moving outside of the tent. They started crying a bit, and I said it was either the wind or maybe a racoon a little bit away. At that moment, something came down on the top of the tent…something pushing in at four spots. They lost their minds with terror….even I screamed.
It was our cat. My wife had let him outside, and he made his way down in the woods to see us. He was young and had never seen a tent before and jumped on top of it right above us.
This was a few years ago, and my kids still bring up how scary it was and how daddy screamed.”
“I went camping alone (female) with my son who was about four at the time.
When setting up in a fairly remote place, there was a guy who just stood watching us from about 100 meters away (his tent was all set up).
During the night, we heard footsteps walking around our tent for about half an hour. No other noises. I sat up with a mallet in my hands for the rest of the night.
When it got light, I went outside and saw hundreds of emu tracks all over our campsite and a friendly camper neighbour congratulating me on getting the tent up by myself because he wasn’t sure I could do it but didn’t want to intrude.”
“Solo camp in the middle of nowhere.
When I woke up in the morning someone had made a cup of tea and partially d**nk it in the middle of the night.
No sign of anyone anywhere.”
“I was camping in Zion National Park in late August 1992. The campground was almost empty by then. At 3:30 in the morning I woke up in midair.
You know those dreams where that happens? I figured that’s what it was … then I hit the ground. Earthquake. Then I was hearing cracking sounds, a few small thuds, then thud. Little bits of the cliff face had sheared off.
Thankfully the campground was far enough from there that no one was injured. Had that happened in the daytime there’s a good chance that a number of people would have been k**led.
The park was closed for a few days after that, and you couldn’t get in or out for much of that day, as one entrance road was just gone, and the other one a boulder the size of a car had fallen on it. That one they got open that day and they kicked everyone out of the park.
Anyhow I called home to say I was OK, everyone was like “why, what happened?”. It hadn’t made the news or anything, fortunately it was relatively mild, just some local destruction.”
5. Wild animals.
“Sheer terror when I was a kid at boy scout summer camp.
One kid left a couple Airheads out on the picnic table. Everyone woke up in the middle of the night to, no joke 30+ raccoons fighting over airheads and going into tents looking for more food.
If you’ve never heard that many hissing and growling raccoons at the same time good for you.”
6. That would be terrifying.
“Camping in the Serengeti with Masai tribe men as guards.
Sitting around the fire when suddenly the masi looks out into the pitch blackness, turns the flashlight on illuminating
The eyes of a lion 40 yards out. Just staring at us. I never heard a thing.”
7. Children are terrifying.
“I was tent camping in Arkansas around 2003-04, and The Blair Witch Project was still fresh on my mind. I was about 20 years old at the time.
Around 2-3 in the morning we’re woken up by what sounds like a small child running around our tent crying and trying to get in.
I was thoroughly freaked out.
Finally decided to open the tent and there was a kid that couldn’t have been more than 3 years old scared half to death and only wearing a diaper.
I had lots of thought going through my head, but mostly – how the hell do I handle this. I can’t really go campsite to campsite, the ranger office is closed and I’m standing there in the middle of the night holding a child that isn’t mine.
We had decided to call the cops, figuring it was the safest thing to do, just then a lady walks down the trail and is like ‘how did you get out?’ The kid was saying ‘mama, mama…’ and went straight to her. She nonchalantly said thank you and walked away.
Now as a parent, I can’t imagine how much more that would freak me out if it were my kid.”
“I was about 8, I didn’t want to sleep in the tent with my sister so I slept on a cot under the stars.
Woke up to a bear sniffing my head/ neck. I was basically paralyzed with fear, the bear left me and went to sniff around for snacks.
It made enough noise to wake my parents who then scared t away. I moved my cot into my sister’s tent immediately after.”
9. Sorry about that.
“I went on a road trip with some friends to Lake Chelan. We left late and got lost (this was before cell phones, we didn’t have a map and trusted my friends memory). So we pull off the road and decide to camp for the night at a grassy area. We have limited lights and quickly make our tent.
We’re woken in the morning by someone hitting the tent and screaming to get off his property. We’d inadvertently camped on some poor guys lawn. We were just dumb 18 year old kids but have never packed up camp that quickly before!”
“I was pretty young, went camping with my dad in Alabama. It’s late at night, the embers of the fire are dying down, we’re about to go to sleep, when we hear what I can only describe as a bone-chilling moan in the woods.
We looked at each other & decided it was trees rubbing together, but then it happened 2 more times. My dad grabbed the flashlight & I walked behind him with a big stick, determined I would save him if something went wrong.
Eventually we discover a woman lying on the ground, not far from our campsite. She was on a hill, with her head facing down, feet uphill, continuing to moan.
Turns out she had so much to drink that she could hardly talk, but she was also camping out in these woods with her boyfriend. They had a big fight & he drove away, leaving her alone in the forest.
She had seen our fire d**ng & wanted to give us the rest of her firewood before she left too, but had tripped & was too d**nk to get up. We got her back to her campsite, & made sure she wasn’t driving anywhere that night. I’ll never forget that moaning sound though.”
11. Hell no!
“Went camping in deep Appalachia in a tent. Woke up to a weird feeling that I was laying on something. Then I felt it move.
A snake had made its way under my tent and I think it was trying to get warm as it stopped moving right under where my back was.
After me moving a bit it finally went on its merry way. I’ll never forget how it felt moving underneath me.”
12. Holy s**t!
“Leech on my eyeball at age 10 still my go to camping story.
Fell asleep in the car, which was carrying some firewood on the roof rack. Woke up with a puffy eye that both mum and dad were frustratingly “you’ll be fine” about without even looking (unlike their usual “best parents” vibe).
We were playing cards and my mum let out this piercing scream and turned away from me.
Family friend flicked off the big juiced up leech which had crawled out of my eye and was heading for my nose.
I watched the leech burn in the fire while my eyeball bled for a noteworthy 14 tissues.”
Have you had any scary camping experiences?
If so, let us know in the comments.
We’d love to hear from you!